Troubleshooting for Your Landscape Lighting System

The last issue of Horticulture and Home Pest Newsletter presented various ideas to help you lightscape your home landscape . Since something always happens in do-it-yourself projects, here are some ideas to help overcome common problems.

Dim lights can be the result of several things. Check all transformer and light fixture connections to make sure everything is tight. Be sure the cable is tightly fastened to the transformer. An overloaded line can also result in dim lights. Disconnect one or more of the bulbs to see if the other lights become brighter. If they do, remove one of the fixtures, use a more powerful transformer or split the cable run and add a second transformer. Lights may also become dim at the end of the cable run. If this occurs, change to a heavier gauge of cable or use a different wiring layout. Dim lights at the end of a cable run may also be the result of a short-circuit.

If one lamp won't light, check the cable connection. If that doesn't correct the problem, test the socket with a lamp that does work. If the good lamp doesn't light, the socket may be faulty.

The entire system not lighting will probably result in an immediate state of panic. The problem is usually not as severe as it is frustrating. Check the circuit breaker on the transformer to verify that the outlet is activated and the power is turned on. On photo-controlled power packs, place a piece of dark tape over the photoelectric eye to turn the power pack on. If that doesn't work, the power pack may be defective. No lights may also be the result of a break in the cable. Inspect the entire cable run for breaks that may be causing the unit to short out. If the lights turn on initially and then shut off, the transformer is either overloaded or is shorting out. Check all connections and make sure that the positive and negative wires are connected to the proper terminals on the transformer.

These are some of the most common problems that occur with lighting systems. If these troubleshooting hints don't work for you, contact the company from which you purchased your system for further assistance.

This article originally appeared in the June 8, 1994 issue, p. 83.


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